General

Best 5G Hotspots in 2020

4 Mins read

Best
5G Hotspots
Android Central
2020

5G connectivity, in its early days, makes a lot of sense with a hub that you can place in a good location and use with multiple devices thanks to its fast speeds and low latency. That way you can get access to it while the infrastructure catches up. Sprint offers its customers the option of using a phone or a hotspot with its 5G. The HTC 5G Hub on Sprint is the best overall 5G hotspot because it brings the newest 5G tech to home and business users alike with its easy-to-use touchscreen and Android operating system.

When you think of a hotspot you probably picture a little box with a clunky user interface and a tiny screen. HTC defies that with its new 5G hub available for Sprint. With a 5-inch 720p touchscreen and Android 9 support, this hub evolves from a backup connection to a complete internet solution.

Supporting Sprint’s new 5G network and 4G LTE network, the Qualcomm X50 modem in the HTC 5G Hub should provide high speeds even when moving outside of 5G coverage. It supports Wi-Fi 5 speeds and has a gigabit Ethernet port. It can travel with a 7,660 mAh battery if no power is available. HTC indicates that this hotspot supports up to 20 connected devices, which brings this device close to a complete solution for a home network or even a small office.

Sitting tall like a smart alarm clock at nearly four inches tall, this hub does command more of your desk than some of the smaller hotspots people are more familiar with. Still, with Android 9, a Snapdragon 855 mobile CPU and 4GB of RAM, this hub can act as a Google Assistant device, a music player, or anything else an Android tablet can do.

Pros:

  • 5-inch touchscreen
  • Android 9
  • Snapdragon 855
  • Large battery

Cons:

  • Large device
  • Low display resolution (720p)
  • No Wi-Fi 6

Inseego brings a traditional hotspot to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network with the 5G MiFi M1000. Verizon’s 5G network still has quite a few dead zones but with a strong LTE network backing it up, this hotspot might still work for you.

Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 support should be able to keep up with the network and provide all the speed you need in a laptop or tablet. The 4400 mAh battery keeps this device running throughout your workday. While it’s not capable as a hub like HTC’s offering, it works great as a hotspot. If you are covered by Verizon’s 5G network, this hotspot should be able to provide great speeds to your Wi-Fi devices.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Fast 5G and LTE
  • Compact

If you have a business plan or are willing to wait for AT&T to launch its 5G+ network for all customers, the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot is currently the only option for you. Luckily, it’s a good one with compatibility for AT&T’s 5G+ network called mmWave as well as LTE Advanced.

While there isn’t a store page available yet from AT&T, the official product name for the Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot is the Netgear MR5000 and specifications can be found on Netgear’s support site. It lacks an Ethernet port but with Wi-Fi 5 support and dual-band connectivity, speeds should hold up well for the majority of computing.

With this more traditional setup and less built-in features than the Android-powered hub offered by HTC, the Nighthawk’s 5040 mAh battery should be able to keep it going during travel when there is no power source available. The Qualcomm’s X50 modem in this hotspot has been able to deliver 2Gbps in ideal conditions. This is one to keep an eye out for when AT&T rolls out its 5G+ to everyone. If I had a business account on AT&T and lived in a 5G area, you can bet this would be in my bag.

Pros:

  • Color touchscreen
  • Large battery
  • Speeds over 2Gbps

Cons:

  • Only available for business
  • Small display
  • No Ethernet
  • No Wi-Fi 6

Bottom line

5G right now all comes down to coverage. Verizon’s coverage is improving all the time but it’s still sparse. If you want something light and portable, Verizon’s compact hotspot might be a better fit. Sprint’s network is available in fewer cities but is much more usable in those cities. If you have Sprint 5G coverage, the HTC 5G Hub is one of best hotspots you can get thanks to its attractive design, large battery, and tablet-like features.

AT&T means business

Currently only available for business customers, AT&T’s 5G mmWave network, short for millimeter wave, can deliver very high speeds, over 2Gbps in some tests on 5G broadcast between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. These high frequencies don’t travel very far and don’t have great building penetration so there may be more dropping down to LTE than you see on Sprint. Still, with a growing network, if you need the speed AT&T’s network may soon work for you.

Should you buy a 5G hotspot in 2020?

5G is a new wireless technology and has all the drawbacks of any new tech. It’s not certain that a hotspot bought today will work with all of the frequencies deployed in the next few years.

Unless you live in an area that can already take advantage of 5G coverage, there is little reason to buy a hotspot right now. Holding on to your older LTE only device should serve you just as well until the signal is available. However if your area will soon get 5G coverage, these hotspots can get the best of 4G while you wait for 5G to come online.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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